September 08, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT
We gave it a B-

On his eighth solo album, Coming Home, Richie collaborates with producers who are young enough to be his kids — Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri, Raphael Saadiq — in a bid to update his quiet-storm sound for modern R&B ears. The move pays off, as Richie’s silky voice glides through tracks like the throbbing, bongo-laden house workout ”All Around the World” and the blippy R&B single ”I Call It Love.” But dentists of America, don’t fret: The ’80s soft-pop titan hedges his bets by also including plenty of his trademark banal ballads.

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